Thanks to the ingenuity and selflessness of one Juniper resident, dozens of local children will have a special Christmas this year. A true “Secret Santa”, this resident wishes to remain anonymous – yet she singlehandedly devised a plan that yielded an abundance of donations for Centre County Toys for Tots.
How did she do it? This resident has a very large family, with many grown children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – all scattered across the country. Because COVID has limited their ability to travel to State College, the family has spent the year showing their love for their mother/grandmother through the mail – sending cards and small gifts to her at Juniper.
With the holiday season approaching, the resident made a special and pointed request to her family: Instead of sending her Christmas gifts, she asked that each family member choose a gift for a child and have it shipped to Juniper for the annual Toys for Tots collection.
Her idea couldn’t have come at a better time. Due to the COVID pandemic, this was a difficult year for Centre County Toys for Tots, which aims to serve 9,000 children. With 100 fewer collection sites and a local economy facing unprecedented challenges, any extra efforts made a difference.
The resident’s family responded in full force. For several days, the packages came pouring in… Lego sets, Barbie dolls, Fisher Price sets for toddlers, puzzles, art kits… the list goes on and on. The resident delighted in opening each brown shipping box, discovering the treasures inside and anticipating what the next day might bring. Her joy was infectious, spreading to Juniper associates who were inspired by the generosity of the resident and her family.
When the Toys for Tots truck came to pick up Juniper’s contributions, the collection boxes were overflowing, and so were our hearts. Sometimes the greatest gift is the heart of the giver.
While the Centre County Toys for Tots collection drive has ended for this year, it isn’t too late to make a financial contribution online.